I don't know how many members here have only skied the east, but please read on....
Do anything you have to and get to Tahoe. Drive there, sell your car, whatever it takes. When I was at Squaw, I mused out loud to my GF, "What took me so long to come here?" (I'm in my late 50's) and I almost started to cry. That's how much I loved being there.
The amount of terrain, the amazing powder snow, the beautiful trails, cliffs, and trees are like nothing I've ever seen. I didn't even have great weather until my 2nd day at Squaw, and my one day at Kirkwood. I think they call it a bluebird day at Kirkwood. It was warm, the snow was amazing (7 ft of snow the week before!), there was almost no wind even at the top of the mountain!
I liked Squaw & Kirkwood more than Heavenly, mostly because I was at Heavenly Sat-Sun-Mon, and there was a lot of traffic on the w/e, but I still had a blast there. I think the people were friendliest at Kirkwood. As a transplanted California boy, I really felt like I was skiing with my people at Kirkwood.
Favorite runs: Chair 4, Cornice, Norm's Nose & The Wall at Kirk, Headwall & Emigrant & Shirley Lake & Red Dog at Squaw... Comet, Dipper & Sky at Heavenly. I skied The Face at Heavenly next to Gunbarrel, but hardly looked great. I was panting & sweating on the side of the run when this kid, maybe 10 years old passed me looking good, not stopping AT ALL on his run. As he went by I had to tell him, "You look great, kid".
Like I said, if you have only skied the east - go to Tahoe before you kick the bucket. You will love it. Say hi to the Ponderosa pines for me. Peace.